Multiplayer: Movies or TV Shows We’d Love to See Turned Into Games
Or, the ones we wish had been better
Licensed adaptations are nothing new, but there are always those television shows that slip through the cracks – or rather, those shows that deserve a far bigger and better game than they ever got. Not those mobile knock-offs that only exist to remind us that we like the show while they sink their greedy teeth into us, but games that translate the show into something equally unique and great.
Whether that means letting us earnestly relive iconic moments, explore a detailed and accurate virtual world, or maybe there’s just something special that should be interactive, it’s hard to not feel disappointed when a show gives us the blueprints without a proper game to show for it.
In our first entry in Doublejump’s rebooted Multiplayer series, John, Jake and Callum briefly dwell in their shared disappointment for the shows that should have had their own video games, but didn’t. Let us know what you think of our choices in the comments section below — and if you enjoy what you read, consider supporting the site further by following us on social media and/or becoming a member!
For those who haven’t seen it, Alone is a reality show where a dozen-ish contestants compete to survive as long as they can in some of the harshest environments on the planet. It’s basically Survivor but without the politics or games, instead watching experts genuinely utilise their knowledge to survive day by day while dealing with the mental anguish of total isolation and desperate hunger. It’s easily one of the most compelling shows I’ve ever seen. (If you’re in Australia, you can watch it for free on SBS On Demand.)
In theory, a game like The Long Dark should fill this void, but there’s one feature that The Long Dark doesn’t have that I really, really want (and, as far as I know, neither does any other game): simulated shelter. In Alone, every contestant has to build their own shelter within the first couple of days to prevent exposure, and they all have different approaches depending on where they end up and what they prefer. They find a location as flat, dry and predator-free as they can, they find whatever timber and materials they can to prop up into tent-like poles, use the single tarp they brought with them to create a flimsy wall or ceiling, and stack foliage to create makeshift roofs to protect themselves from the rain and keep in heat. There’s a lot that goes into it and the process always stood out to me, even as each season moved away from highlighting it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love all that other jazz from Alone — competing against other players, finding food, dealing with stress, desperately avoiding all these fucking bears — but all I really want is a Kerbal Space Program-style loop of shoddily building yet another shelter out of debris like the world’s most exhausting house of cards, starving to death/freezing to death/eaten by bears/crushed, then trying again until it finally works. In other words: I want a treehouse simulator but the treehouse is on the ground and you die if you do a bad job. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
I’ve just about finished my first watch-through of Supernatural, and on more than one occasion, I’ve wondered aloud why it hasn’t been turned into a video game of some sort yet. Not only does the show fit the whole “drive here, kill this thing, do this spell, leave” formula, but it makes constant mention of other Hunters around the world battling many of the same supernatural threats we saw on our screens. It’s got more than enough lore of its own, borrows from a fair bit of established lore (members of the Greek, Norse and Roman pantheons make appearances at various points, and there are numerous folklore-based monsters throughout the show), and it’s got a swathe of characters who’ve already been fleshed out enough for a developer to come along and just plop them in. It’s also got that dry humour that I absolutely adore.
All of that, to me, sounds like the perfect recipe for a really deep, really enjoyable video game. It could be a Witcher-esque open-world RPG, a World of Warcraft-style MMO, or even an XCOM-style tactical experience where you’d have to manage a group of Hunters around you. It could put us straight into the Winchesters’ shoes, or it could make us a respected Hunter who’s just been drafted to aid the “Winchester Network” in dealing with its many, many conflicts… or, best of all, it could have us create a new Hunter, starting from scratch and building our arsenal, our network, and our compendium of the supernatural from scratch to eventually earn the Hunting community’s respect. You could also throw in LA Noire’s interrogation mechanics — or even flip them around, where you’re being interrogated to maintain one of your countless aliases — for good measure. No matter how a developer decided to do it, there’s one thing nobody can deny: a Supernatural video game, if done correctly, would be a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Plus, the comic relief missions you’d get to play with the Ghostfacers would just be too much fun to pass up.
A game that I’ve been wanting for a while now is a proper swords and sandals gladiator sim, and the TV show Spartacus is as good a place to start as any. In my mind, it’s basically a wrestling game but with hack ‘n’ slash combat and a real possibility of dying. Arena combat — whether it’s a one-on-one duel, multi-person survival or even surviving against a lion — where you fight your way to become the champion of your ludus, appealing to both your masters as a slave and the audience as an entertainer to work your way up the ladder. I want to carefully choose the type of armour and weapon depending on the kind of match I’m being thrown into, and even include some weapons that we haven’t seen in a game before, like a trident and net combo wielded by a gladiator called a Retiarius. Also: please someone make a game where I can be a Retiarius; I’ve been obsessed with this for years.
If we really want a proper Spartacus game, though, all of this would just make up the first half of the game, where the entire point of succeeding as a gladiator is just so you can better revolt against your masters later. Making alliances with other gladiators ahead of time, improving your strength and putting together a convoluted escape plan so you have everything you need to both overthrow your ludus and escape the city at the best time possible – in other words, pull off a historical prison break. When you’re on the run, you can do all that wrestling-ish stuff on the road, too: use your crowdwork to appeal to the better nature of townsfolk, use your combat skills to fend off Roman soldiers, and politic your liberation into a full-on rebellion.
(Just ignore that part at the end where everyone dies, though.)
Callum: Battlestar Galactica
MMOs aren’t capable of telling personal stories. It kind of undermines the stakes of your story if you see twenty other characters queuing up to save the world, or if personal stakes need to be quarantined into effectively another game… and in spite of that, that’s essentially the first Battlestar Galactica game we got. Then there was Battlestar Galactica Deadlock — an adequate strategy game, but still one that fails to capture the potential of its source material. Imagine, for example, a Frostpunk style strategy game forcing you to balance limited population, political tensions and the oncoming destruction in the form of the Cylon fleet. Alternatively, the options of other mechanical genres: a Cloudpunk-esque examination of fleet economic structures; an FPS set on the occupied colonies… the possibilities are endless.
While I like the idea of jumping into a Viper cockpit and getting some high intensity dogfighting or managing the logistics of a fleet fleeing the Cylon onslaught, there’s already games out there that offer this experience. Elite: Dangerous has some good dogfighting, for example. Instead, I’d like a game that focuses on the people in the fleet, rather than the fleet itself. There’s so much in the world of Battlestar Galactica that a game could capitalise on. Ideally, I’d want an RPG set on the fleet, in the same style as Disco Elysium, that dives into the political drama of Battlestar Galactica. Theft and black market intrigue on a single ship could span into a fleetwide murder scandal, with the menace of the Cylons providing a time limit.